EL CAJON, Calif. — An online threat seemingly inspired by a nationwide rash of scares involving “creepy clowns” prompted increased security at Montgomery Middle School in El Cajon Friday.
The menacing Instagram post appeared on Thursday night, claiming the Melody Lane campus would be targeted by criminal violence this morning, said Kari Hull, deputy superintendent of Cajon Valley Union School District.
The apparent hoax statement, accompanied by a picture of a clown, claimed that teachers would be killed and students kidnapped.
Administrators responded by instituting a “secure campus” status at the school, with exterior doors and gates locked, Hull said. El Cajon police added to the precautions by posting an officer on the grounds for the day.
“We take safety of our students very seriously, and we wanted to ensure that the campus was safe and secure,” Hull said.
As of midday, classes were proceeding routinely, according to school officials, who concluded that the threats were unfounded.
Reports of encounters with so-called “creepy clowns” have been occurring with increasing frequency in recent weeks across the country. The weird trend apparently began in South Carolina, where costumed circus- entertainer types supposedly were attempting to lure children into wooded areas. Officials called those accounts bogus.
Most of the incidents appear to have amounted to pranks, though some have resulted in threat-related arrests.